Trade Lanes

Trade Lanes

In-depth news and analysis of the world's major shipping trade lanes including the trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific, Asia-Europe and more.

Several variables can affect a trade lane's popularity — including its inclusion/discontinuance by an ocean carrier. The container line landscape is constantly evolving as market dynamics present new challenges to the industry.


Negotiations for 2019-2020 shipping contracts will be difficult on a number of fronts.

News & Analysis

17 Jan 2020
The US-China trade war slammed import volumes sufficiently enough in 2019 that imports from Asia experienced their first year-on-year drop since the 2009 global recession.
10 Jan 2020
US imports in January-February are projected to drop steeply year-over-year, but pick up in March and return to normal seasonal trends.
10 Jan 2020
Despite the continuation of US import tariffs on $370 billion in Chinese-made goods and a slowing global economy, Asian container trade growth is expected to accelerate in 2020.
06 Jan 2020
The impact of steadily rising low-sulfur fuel prices on carriers is being partly offset by a strong increase in the Asia-Europe spot market, but the traditional slack season is just a couple of weeks away.
Trans-Pac carriers recouping IMO surcharges, but scale unclear
03 Jan 2020
Recent quotes by carriers on their surcharges for more expensive low-sulfur fuel oil are confusing shippers and causing suspicion carriers are attempting to make unreasonable profits from the global LSFO mandate that took effect Wednesday.
31 Dec 2019
The “phase one” trade deal has eased tensions between the US and China and prompted Washington to cancel some tariffs and reduce others, a move welcomed by US retailers, who say the tariffs have been a drag on the US economy.
K+N: Greener ocean services don’t always come at a premium
18 Dec 2019
On the east-west trades, some services with higher CO2 emissions come with the same cost and transit time as those services providing a more eco-friendly operation.
APMT joint venture widens Cosco’s Med footprint
12 Dec 2019
Cosco has added a new container terminal to its expanding European portfolio in a JV with APM Terminals.
Alphaliner raises alarm over possible overcharging on low-sulfur fees
11 Dec 2019
Carriers have struggled to lift spot rates on the Asia-Europe trade, and the wide variations in low-sulfur surcharge levels have an analyst asking questions.
04 Dec 2019
The double-digit spot rate hike on Asia-US this past week was due largely to the implementation of low-sulfur fuel surcharges. Carriers can take heart, for now, from their ability to make December’s interim LSFO surcharges stick as they prepare for permanent surcharges after the Jan. 1 implementation of IMO 2020.
27 Nov 2019
An Arctic routing translates to 24-25 days of sailing versus a 34-35 day transit via the Suez. That provides an opportunity to not only profit from -- but also further contribute to -- global warming.
15 Nov 2019
The second straight weekly decline in spot rates in the eastbound Pacific seems to show that the peak shipping season was uneventful -- and that the 25 percent tariffs on $300 billion of imports from China due to go into effect Dec. 15 is having no significant impact on freight volumes.
13 Nov 2019
Declining imports from China are dragging down container volumes in the eastbound trans-Pacific, and if inventory levels remain higher than usual, a weak Lunar New Year month in January is possible.
31 Oct 2019
Even before Wednesday’s announcement canceling the Nov. 15 Apec meeting in Chile, footwear importers were warned their industry would continue to encounter a drumbeat of uncertainty and possibly higher duty rates.
Trans-Pacific spot rates stabilize ahead of projected import bump
25 Oct 2019
Spot rates on the eastbound Pacific stabilized as carriers prepare for a possible spike in imports from China next month ahead of the next round of tariffs scheduled to take effect Dec. 15 in US-China trade war.
25 Oct 2019
Rates on Asia–Europe have edged upwards and volume on the trade continues to grow in an apparent contradiction of the gloomy trading environment.
25 Oct 2019
Imports of household products from Asia increased just 0.6 percent through August because of US-China trade war. But with China’s dominant role in that sector and number two Vietnam at capacity, there will be no significant shift in sourcing away from China.
22 Oct 2019
Impressive diversification of export markets in Europe, Southeast Asia, and South America has shielded US resin shippers from the worst effects of the trade war with China.
18 Oct 2019
A slight increase in eastbound trans-Pacific spot rates reflects final shipments that left China before Golden Week, but dozens of blank sailings already announced for October-November indicate carriers expect imports to be weak going forward.
17 Oct 2019
US imports from China fell 9.3 percent in September, the fifth straight monthly decline. Coupled with 37 blank sailings for October and November, it appears peak season will end on a sour note.
Blank sailings mount on slumping Asia-Europe trade
15 Oct 2019
The number of blanked sailings is growing on the Asia-Europe trades as carriers sit becalmed in the slack season with no clear idea of whether to expect a pre-Chinese New Year rush.
11 Oct 2019
The tariff war between the US and China has cooled significantly with news the two powers have reached a “very substantial” first phase of a trade deal.
09 Oct 2019
As manufacturing continues to shift from China to countries in Southeast Asia, the diversification of sourcing will result in an increase in trade flows and greater need for logistics support, speakers at the JOC TPM Asia Conference said.
08 Oct 2019
Growing US containerized exports to other countries in Asia are nowhere near enough to offset the rapidly declining exports to China as the US-China trade war drags on, exporters say.
08 Oct 2019
Carriers who enjoyed a strong first half of 2019 on the trans-Atlantic trade will have to temper their expectations for the fourth quarter following the WTO approval of US tariffs on a range of European imports.
07 Oct 2019
The US Customs and Border Protection is investigating three companies for possibly evading antidumping and countervailing duties on hardwood plywood imports.
03 Oct 2019
Retailers predict a November spike in imports driven by inventory replenishment and the race to get ahead of Dec. 15 tariffs on $300 billion of imports from China.
03 Oct 2019
Small and mid-size NVOs are chipping away at the market shares of the top five NVOs in Asia-US trade by moving aggressively on smaller accounts and responding quickly to declining spot rates.
27 Sep 2019
After seeing four weeks of declining spot rates in September-- when rates should be increasing -- and with factory closures coming next week during Golden Week celebrations in China, NVOs who sell in the spot market say further rate declines are possible.
20 Sep 2019
With holiday season imports unable to gain traction and spot rates declining for the third consecutive week, peak-season 2019 will be defined by blanked sailings rather than surging cargo volumes.
13 Sep 2019
The larger container ships global carriers are starting to deploy in intra-Asia trades are putting pressure on specialist feeder lines already dealing with bad weather, port congestion, and shifting trade patterns.
10 Sep 2019
Retailers prepare for a projected 8.8 percent increase in imports in November as they ship early to get ahead of 15 percent tariffs scheduled to take effect Dec. 15 on remaining merchandise from China not already under tariff.
10 Sep 2019
The government of Panama has approved reduced toll rates for container ships transiting the Panama Canal, mindful of the need to stay competitive with the Suez Canal and with carriers ready to see fuel costs jump due to the IMO 2020 low-sulfur mandate.
09 Sep 2019
India’s Concor takes another step to keep pace with the global push for one-stop logistics shopping.
06 Sep 2019
The failure of Sept. 1 general rate increase to hold may indicate that earlier predictions of a weak peak season were correct.